Shadow Over Longview is a World of Darkness Chronicle that centers on and originate in Longview Washington. The the Chronicle begins with the characters playing everyday children in the Longview during the year 1997. All character will be start at the ages 7-12. These children will be exposed to the horror of dark supernatural secrets in their city. After the introductory story the game will flash forward to when the characters are adults. Depending on how the introductory story goes will guide adult character creation. Characters who are able to cope and put the past behind them may grow to be sane well adjusted adults, while others could fall through the cracks and be deemed mental ill by the rest of the world. Whether they grow up well adjusted members of society or become outcasts on the fringe of society the supernatural are not done with the characters and the horrors of their childhood will come to visit them again.
Ugly truth of Longview
Longview is a town well-suited for the needs of a World of Darkness setting. The historical facts, folklore, and urban myths that the town bear the stress of peeling back reality and finding dark and brooding fiction underneath without rupturing the feel of eerie plausibility. This Chronicle is based in part on the hard facts of Longview, but also the whispered rumors, and the changes needed if the place wasn’t really the Longview of our world, but of the World of Darkness.
Longview and Kelso Washington are adjacent small lumber towns with a port on the Columbia River and connected to the Interstate-5 Freeway. The town is surrounded by the coniferous rain forests that make the Pacific Northwest famous, and is within view of Mt. St. Helens on a clear day. The weather is often overcast nine months of the year, and a fine misting rain keeps the town slightly damp from fall until early summer. A cast of gray lights the city during these months, and seems to seep into the souls of those who live here.
Theme: Darker Beneath the Surface
The major themes set out to be covered in this setting are: Things are darker beneath the surface; This is a truth about the setting that can not be denied. This is the primary theme of the whole setting and each story arch or subsection of the settting will have additional themes that they address.
In the world of darkness, that things are darker beneath the surface may seem obvious, but in Longview it is particularly true. The veil of normalcy is thick here, indeed the banal and boring happenings of everyday life make for a convincing surface. Underneath, strange things are ignored, go unspoken or unnoticed, but hide a dark ugliness about the soul-sucking place.
With such a dark truth beneath the surface, things that are not necessarily true can be quite comforting and more beautiful than cold hard facts. Just because something isn’t true may not detract from its beauty and value, when used for the greater good.
There are things people should not know. Horrible terrors that gain strength by their exposure to minds. There are some secrets which carry a lethal consequence, either from beings who wish them to remain secrets or from the misuse of those secrets. There is knowledge also that can be wielded more effectively than any sword or gun.
Mood: Quiet Desperation
The major moods intimately tied to the setting are Quiet Desperation and Looming Dread of the overall World of Darkness. Throughout Longview people are trying to live their lives while knowing hope for an improvement is too much to expect, that the best they can hope for is to not lose what they have.
The people of Longview work jobs that don’t allow them to save enough to move anywhere else, and the higher prices of living elsewhere seems like a towering giant blocking any attempts to escape. It is cheap to live in Longview, it needs to be for people to survive there.
Like small fish trapped in a small pond they swim in circles waiting for some twist of fate that doesn’t come. There are hidden things to fear in Longview, and even though it is surrounded by natural beauty, it is a place that is at once comfortable and dreadful in its murder of hope. This is the the mood that the players will feel when they stop to examine life in Longview, but other moods will be covered during stories that best represent the facet of Longview they cover.
The primary virtue that defines Longview is Prudence. People take the sensible and cautious approach, not willing to risk what they already have. If they do lose what they have it is most often through a process of slow painful attrition, as they sink into utter desperation. Generally, people in Longview are just not willing to go out on a limb, keeping their expectations not far, above what they have already achieved.
With rampant drug abuse, and a high STD ratio it may be easy to imagine that the prime vice of Longview would be Gluttony or perhaps Lust. Actually, these are just the idle diversions of the real vice; Sloth. Listless apathy grips this area, squeezing out any real hope for possible improvement. Most people are just biding their time, waiting for some intervention of fate or luck. Some people have given up on waiting on something better and just wallow in a quiet despair.